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Chevrolet Malibu Maxx Brake Questions

I purchased a 2004 Malibu Maxx one year ago, brand new. I love the car. I travel a lot for work and live in Washington State where the weather is wet and inclement in the winter. Highway driving is fantastic... it handles great on wet roadways. I love this car.
I noticed some shimmy when I break so I took it into to the shop. The rotors all around the car need to be machined (they are warped...) Three of the pads are at approx. 80% wear and one of the rear brakes is at about 30%. GM warranty will not cover brake repair if any of the brakes are over 50% worn... this is what the dealership told me. I have the 800 number and will address this issue with the warranty folks directly. It is obvious to me that the dramatically worn brake is defective in some way (and hopefully not indicative of some other problem). At this point in time the dealership is telling me the car needs a $275 brake job at my cost. This is the pits because I like the car so much and what a drag if my 72K warranty isn't going to help out with this. I will stay in touch. Please post if anyone has input or similar experiences. :confuse:


  • rferdrferd Posts: 28
    I had work done on my 04 Maxx's breaks under warranty but do not remember what they did. I will check it up tonight and give you more details tomorrow.

    I have a question, though. My breaks make a lot of noise in the morning when I start from cold but they sounds fine after a while. I wonder if anyone (e2helper?) can tell if this is normal or if I should report it. My 36,000 warranty will be up after 200 more miles.
  • It is possible that the rotors need to be machined and that is covered under warranty as long as the brakes are within the first 50% of wear.
  • I spoke with GM warranty. I am really disappointed in the dealership. One rear brake worn 70% and all three other brakes are between 20 and 30% wear. Also, the car has 19K miles on it, 12K of which is highway driving (I have also noticed that most are not needing brake work until 40K or so). GM was ready to fix the problem under warranty but the 'service advisor' who told me it was a GM issue, not his choice, told GM that it is from normal wear and they should not cover it on warranty. I think I will be looking for a new dealership to cover my warranty's and service needs. I still love the car.
  • Can anyone driving a 2004 Malibu Maxx LT tell me the mileage driven before the OEM brakes needed to be replaced? I have read on this site 49K and 52K, is this the norm? If possible, please refer to front and rear brake replacement. Thank you!!
  • I have an '04 with 63K and the brakes show minimal wear. It has everything to do with city v. highway driving and hard or easy braking. My wife's car has 116k on original brakes. That's a record for us. The Maxx should have wear indicators that screech when they need changing.
  • islandpeteislandpete Posts: 94
    On June 14 brought my LT Maxx 2004 10,368 Mi in for the following. 1(Brakes shudder on braking at high speeds and seem to feel a slight pulse when braking lightly approaching a traffic light 2) Front suspension is noisy and clunky over bumps. 3) Rusty knuckle joint connection to recently replaced steering column assembly.4) oil change 5) NY State Inspection. On 1 Brakes they note "Pulled off All Four Wheels and Inspected Brakes. Brakes Safe and operation at this time to Spec.Possibly was due to ABS kicking in?? On 2, Suspension noise, they state"could not duplicate customer problem. No problem found to be driven by service writer,no problem found. 3) rusty component on steering link was explained away as "A lot of parts get rusty and as example the service writer gave exhaust parts. I told him this part controls steering and he said the check showed it to be OK. Got the Oil Change and it naturally passed the NYS Inspection. :D Car seems to be running OK but still get the double bounce and a clunking noise over some bumps. Going to be interesting as more info comes out on the TSB. Thanks to Pao, Maxx4Me , minn_maxx and all that contributed to this glaring problem. Stay tuned ;)
  • islandpeteislandpete Posts: 94
    Last month I had my Maxx 2004 LT(10,900mi) in for inspection and servicing. One of my concerns was a roughness or pulsation on applyinfg the brakes at speeds in excess of 40MPH and even can be felt as a subtle pulse aprroaching a traffic light at very low speed. Problem seems worse after driving for awhile . What they found and the following is taken from their work sheet "Customer Requests Brakes Checked,Pulled All Four Wheels And INSPECTED BRAKES,BRAKES SAFE AND OPERATION AT THIS TIME TO SPEC". OK , this was in addition to the front end clunking also they found nothing. "COULD NOT DUPLICATE CUSTOMERS PROBLEM". For now I am living with the front end but the brake problem is more prevalent after driving a distance. I would suspect, not being a mechanic ,it may be something out of round as a warped rotor. Does anyone relate to this as far as If you are driving do the rotors heat up even if you are driving highway to a point that they may warp from excessive heat and when you have to apply the brakes they pulse or shudder like you are on a bumpy road? Comments welcome. Called in for an appointment this AM and was told they could not schedule me until the middle of next week. I told them this is a brake problem that was not fixed a month ago and I am concerned. The best they could do is to "Squeeze" me in on Friday. This time I will get the car there early and hang around and make sure they know what I am talking about ;)
  • mr_botsmr_bots Posts: 236
    Pulsing seems highly likely to be warped rotors, the clunking is possibly the steering column. If you get your rotors turned or replaced I'd recommend busting the lug nuts loose and then tightening them in the right order and to the right pressure. The impacts tire shops and dealers use have a tendency to unevenly torque the wheels and over torque the wheels which will cause your brakes to warp again fairly quickly.
  • I posted here in January of this year (2006)about excessive brake wearing. After bringing the Regional Auto Tech in to take a look at my brakes, GM decided to pay for the replacement. My 2004 Maxx LT is in the shop again, 11 months later. The rotors are warped and the brakes are at about 60% 12K miles after being replaced. I have spoke with auto techs not affiliated with GM or Chevy and have been told that this problem is caused by excessive heat. Does anyone know what would cause this and if it is repairable? Or do I have to consider replacing the brakes every 20K miles? Seems excessive to me. I drove fords for years and never had to replace brakes earlier than 40K miles.
  • The pulsing is the brakes and caused by warped rotors. It seems that the Maxx, especially the 04's are known for excessive heat that causes this problem.
    As far as the clunking, GM is replacing the steering box on my Maxx for similar clunking, under warranty.
  • The brake rotors on Malibus have been notoriously bad for years - just check old postings on pre-04 Malibus. The rotors warp and you get a shimmy/pulse when you try to slow down from speeds over 30 mph. I have had the rotors turned twice, and the pads, both front and rear, replaced at 25K - for which my dealer charged me $748.00 with tax - that's about $690 for a full brake job - way way overpriced. My fault for telling them to do the job before getting a price - they were doing a lot of warranty work and did the brake job too.
    This is just one more example of why Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are selling so many more cars than American manufacturers - the engineering on American cars just plain sucks!
    It hurts me to admit it, because I've always been a supporter of American cars, but my next ride will probably be a Honda - they hold their value and remain reliable for years and years.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    way too much for a brake job....had mine done at 64k for $400 by a local shop...not a they wanted over $600 for the job....mine pulsed once..but the rotor turning helped...and I insisted they hand torgue vice using an impact problems since.......82K on the car....

    careful on toyota...lots of problems with their transmissions now...check out the new camry and rav4......think they have gotten complacent with their position here in the US.....all makes and models have problems...with a mass produced item.....
  • I know that there is a "book" that sets the standard hours of labor for repairs to automobiles. Does anybody know how many hours is considered standard for a 4 wheel disk brake job including turning the rotors, but no rebuilding of parts?
    I recently made the mistake of allowing my dealer to do the brake job and was charged 5 hours labor @ $99.00/hr. I think this is excessive.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    You might want to pose this question over in one of these Maintenance & Repair topics. There are some mechanics that hang out in there that may be able to answer your question.

    Dealer vs. Independent Shop

    Dealer Dis-Service Horror Stories
  • Once I retorqued my Maxx wheels to 8O Psi for all bolts (what one servicing dealer recomended) a fair bit of the previous brake shake went away.

    The torquing had ranged from 60 to 140 Psi on the same wheels bolts. One shop supposedly used a "torque stick", but the wheels were torqued no better there than elsewhere.

    Apparently there is enough elasticity in the rotor metal to recover from overtightening, provided the retorquing is done before uneven wear develops on the rotors.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    I had some time to kill today so I had my 2004 Maxx's brakes checked out. At 37,000 miles, my mechanic said I was only half way down. I was suprised by this considering the dealer had turned the rotors twice while the car was under standard warranty. I figured the pulsing (now twice resolved) would have caused the brakes to wear unusually fast. Given that I only drive in the city, I am also suprised that I will likely get 50,000 out of the brakes.
    Pao: at what mileage did you get your brakes switched out?
    I also plan on going with an after market rotor when the time comes; give something else a try instead of going with these paper thin GM rotors.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    I changed mine out at 64K....only the pads...the rotors turned....and now I have 93K on the car...and brakes are still solid.....
  • eronieroni Posts: 9
    I would like to compare my observations with other people and exchange ideas about this problem. I have a 06 Maxx and it presents this problem ONLY under certain conditions. Obviously, in my case, the disk's warping is not permanent, since it does not happen when driving at night or when temperatures are mild. It becomes very pronounced in heavy traffic at high noon here in Florida. It takes a good while to cool to the point of a smooth breaking feeling again. One has to drive a few miles at a good speed for that to happen; apparently the disks become straight again when cooled off. The differences in ambient temperatures here in Fl., between night and day, are not that great, so it does not take much to correct the problem. The dissipation of heat into the wheel, in my case, is minimal because I have steel stamped rims and their contact with the disk (hub) is very small. Since not everybody complains about this, I wonder if the magnesium/aluminum wheels, with a greater contact with the disks would dissipate enough heat, so that people with these rims don't experience the problem.
    Any comment on this subject will be greatly appreciated. Eroni.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    For the past 3 months, I have had an intermittent ABS light on the dash upon start up. The bell on the DIC also rings. Normally, once the car is turned off and started again, the light is not present. This all started prior to me getting a new set of front brakes and rotors, so it does not have anything to do with the brake job. This has happened about 4 times now. Anyone else?
  • My Mazz 2006 has 41K miles on original brakes and rotors..Still in the first set of tires and no problems, but if you guys can give me your opinions on: 1) when I apply the brakes on an icy surface TC and ABS stop the car pretty fast but as the front wheels grab and let go I feel this bouncing effect on the brake pedal which is not to light but not too pronounced. It happens only on icy roads, I even had to brake downhill with 6 people in the car, under normal road conditions and I don't see the problem showing. Normal ? or are rotors just starting to warp ? 2) How do I refill the back windshield reservoir, where is it, maybe I've been lazy to look it up. Thanks.
  • td511td511 Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Malibu Maxx with only 26,600 miles . Since Aug. I've been having problems with ABS After you start the car, when you put your foot on the brake to put the car in reverse, the ABS comes on (you hear it and feel the pedal go down) and the car will not come out of gear. Have to shut car off, pump the brakes, and hope it works. If you get it out of gear, the brake lights on the back of the car stay on and cruise control won't work. First dealer had no clue, put in new shifter and then they messed up the ignition, put in new ignition and brake software. Second dealer said the brake pedal positioning sensor had a short in it...put in new sensor, brought it home and problem still happens. This was just yesterday. Anyone else know of this problem? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  • I too have had problems with brakes on my 2004 Malibu MAXX LT with 45,000 miles on it. I noticed a vibrating when I was on the hwy over 60mph back in May. I took it into the dealer and $500 later I had new brakes and the rotors resurfaced. Just recently they started to vibrate again really badly but only when going downhill over 60mph. Last week we were driving and there was a big clunking noise and the steering went out and the brakes went out completely too, resulting in a collision that totaled the car and could have severely injured or killed somebody. The rotor completely went through the rim and ended up on the other side of the road. Please take precautions that this does not happen to any of you.
  • jzombek1jzombek1 Posts: 1
    My wife owns a 2006 Malibu Maxx (she bought it new) with 24400 miles, it has been to the dealership twice for terrible pulsating when applying the breaks. The problem is magnified when going down steep hills, is this common as the dealership is telling me. Had the car at the dealership last August for same problem.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    sounds like the infamous warping rotors again.....they should hand torque the lug nuts back on and not use the impact wrench...that took care of my problem...also at he first brake job replace the thin OEM rotors with a better OEM replacement....should help as well.....04 Maxx LT here...with 125K on it.....two brake jobs later...
  • novatucnovatuc Posts: 3
    I have a 2006 Maxx LS. I replaced my original rear rotors at 30,000 kms (about 18,500 miles) because of warping. I put on cheap Ebay cross drilled rotors. Since the rear brakes are used less than the front, I wasn't worried about breakage. They seem to have helped quite a bit. I reused the original pads. Went for a provincial motor vehicle inspection today at 45,000 kms (about 28,000 miles). Original front brakes were toast. Pads were completely gone. I replaced front pads and rotors. Rear original pads are still at half. I'm thinking the brake balance is far too biased to the front brakes. Because of where I live, about 70% of my driving is highway so I actually use my brakes very little. These cars definitely have brake issues.
  • eronieroni Posts: 9
    The problem that I observed with my 2006 Malibu Maxx (described in message # 20), I am happy to inform that it has been resolved in a very simple way. Someone told me that he had a similar situation with a Buick Le Sabre and he, also by a friends suggestion, replaced the front pads by ones of the "Ceramic" kind. I was somewhat skeptical since the original pads in the car are themselves of ceramic. Since the investment was not going to be too high, I decided to give it a try. I purchased a set "Friction Master Ceramic" at Advance Auto Parts. Since the original pads and the rotors had very little wear I just replaced the pads and nothing else. Miracle !!! No more vibration even at high noon and heavy traffic. For some reason these pads don't bring the rotor's temperatures as high as the former ones, hence no more warping. After that I have driven this car from Florida to California and back (6300 miles) and the brakes have been smooth as silk. This does not make much sense; we all know that the energy of braking dissipates into heat and it should not have made a difference unless some of that energy took another direction, maybe more wear? Only God knows but it worked and I am very happy.
  • fish1552fish1552 Posts: 1
    I was wondering if new rotors that are not OEM might solve the warping problem. I was thinking of ordering a more heavy duty rotor from JC Whitney (something of the spiral vented rotors variety) to see if they helped correct the problem.
    I personally have replaced my pads twice already, once with new rotors and once with "turned" rotors and the mileage is only at 53k. I bought it used at 22k in April 07.
  • Just got my Maxx back from service. They rebalanced the tires (among other things) due to a vibration at highway speeds. I went to retorque the lug nuts to manufacturer's specs and found that they were over-torqued as expected. On one wheel I broke the socket trying to loosen a nut, on another, the 12 pt socket stripped the nut because it was on too tight. I should have used the supplied lug wrench in the tire change kit. When I tried that I had to use a 12 inch pipe extension for leverage to get those two nuts off. Glad I wasn't on the road with a flat and no pipe extension.
  • I will be replacing the front rotors & pads soon. Is there a set torque number that I will need to re-tighten the two bolts to after removing them or is tight good enough.
  • hhmaxhhmax Posts: 44
    yes. it happened to my 2005 maxx 3 to 4 times recently. It normally happens in the morning, i.e., the first start.
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